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Now That I Know How To Cut Ceramics, How To Drill Them?


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#1 Isculpt

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:17 AM

I should know this, but I don't. What kind of bit should I look for to drill into a ceramic piece? I had two breakages at a weekend show.  On one sculpture, the hands got broken off of a figure, but if I can drill into the "sleeves", I should be able to replace the hands and refire it.  Additionally, is there any special technique I should be aware of when drilling into ceramics?

Jayne



#2 Mark C.

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:43 AM

Yes -extremely slow-use a carbide drill bit and go SLOW use a bit of water to keep it cool

Did I mention SLOWLY.

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#3 neilestrick

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:25 PM

Drilling through stoneware and porcelain is a real pain. It will take a long, long time. Don't let the bit overheat or you can crack the piece. Did I mention it will take a long, long time?

 

If you try to attach the hands into the sleeves, they must sit in place without any sort of mechanical means if you plan to fire them into place. If they won't sit in place via gravity, they will just fall out during the firing as the glaze softens up. Might have to just glue them in after firing.


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#4 JBaymore

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:29 PM

Water cooled diamond drill....... but still slow.

 

Neil makes a good point about attaching them post-firing.

 

best,

 

.................john


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#5 Isculpt

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:50 PM

Hmmm. Attaching them after firing might be the best way to go. Thanks. And s-l-o-w, huh? Man, that's the hard part -- slowing myself down. But I will put the drill on its slowest speed and try to exercise patience. Thanks again.



#6 Isculpt

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:39 PM

I had a lamp shop convert some inexpensive Chinese ceramic square Tea jars into lamps.

 

They too used a diamond grinding bit mounted on a drill-press, with the porcelain fully supported underneath.

 

With modest constant pressure and a constant flow of water, the bit slowly ground the holes through the porcelain.

 

I've been able to fire some unexpected pieces together with glaze by firing them upside down using Kanthal wire to suspend them, thus using gravity to hold the piece to be attached in place.

Good information! Thanks!



#7 Mudlark

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 12:46 AM

I use silicon carbide grit. Use a brass or copper rod of the desired diameter as the drill bit(brazing rod is suitable). Make a plasticene dam around the spot where the hole is to be made,add grit and water. Do not press too hard, replenish water as required and support the underside of the material being drilled otherwise the drill will break through leaving a ragged area around the hole. Repeatedly withdraw the drill to permit new grit and water penetrate to the cutting surface.Wear ear defenders and goggles.

#8 Conniefi

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 05:25 PM

I drill ceramics weekly for my jewelry pieces. I use diamond drill bits and water. Yes, you must go very, very, slow.

#9 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 08:33 PM

I did it on a glazed over hanger for a platter going to the Smithsonian. It took a very long time. I used a regular but with a silicon carbide paste. It took a long long time but it was successful.
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#10 Isculpt

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:30 AM

I use silicon carbide grit. Use a brass or copper rod of the desired diameter as the drill bit(brazing rod is suitable). Make a plasticene dam around the spot where the hole is to be made,add grit and water. Do not press too hard, replenish water as required and support the underside of the material being drilled otherwise the drill will break through leaving a ragged area around the hole. Repeatedly withdraw the drill to permit new grit and water penetrate to the cutting surface.Wear ear defenders and goggles.

Okay, two questions... Where does one buy silicon carbide grit (not to mention plasticine)??  And what is a brazing rod?



#11 Mudlark

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:31 PM

Lapidery suppliers stock silicone carbide grit. I use 600 mesh as I have it on hand having  bought it for another purpose, a coarser mesh would do just as well.

 

 Brazing rod is used  to join metals by heat and can be bought at plumbing suppliers, use one that is not covered in a flux, it looks like brass rod. Any non ferrous metal rod of the desired diameter will do.

 

Plasticene is a trade name for  an oil based modelling clay used by sculptors and model makers not to mention school kids. It's used as it does not wash away with the cooling water as potters clay does.



#12 Isculpt

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:30 AM

Lapidery suppliers stock silicone carbide grit. I use 600 mesh as I have it on hand having  bought it for another purpose, a coarser mesh would do just as well.

 

 Brazing rod is used  to join metals by heat and can be bought at plumbing suppliers, use one that is not covered in a flux, it looks like brass rod. Any non ferrous metal rod of the desired diameter will do.

 

Plasticene is a trade name for  an oil based modelling clay used by sculptors and model makers not to mention school kids. It's used as it does not wash away with the cooling water as potters clay does.

Thanks for the detailed information!






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